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Tag: 2016 NBA Playoffs

The Hawks’ Tall Task Against the Cavaliers Featuring Lang Whitaker, Jacob Rosen


Jeff Teague, a possible x-factor for the Hawks in this series, struggled with his shooting in Game 1 against the Cavaliers. (Keith Allison/Wikimedia Commons)

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Although the Hawks put a mighty scare into the Cavaliers after storming all the way back from 18 down, Cleveland ultimately hung on to take the series opener. In a tantalizing rematch of last year’s Eastern Conference Finals, our crack guests lead us through this iteration’s nuances. Checking in for the Hawks is Atlanta sports expert and NBA.com writer and podcaster Lang Whitaker. And out of Akron, Ohio, we have Jacob Rosen, who’s an MBA student at the University of Oregon’s Warsaw Sports Marketing Center. Rosen’s also a longtime sports analytics writer for Hardwood ParoxysmNylon Calculus and Waiting for Next Year. Excerpts below:

Lang Whitaker (5:07-5:23): “[Kent] Bazemore’s a little bit more dynamic offensively than DeMarre [Carroll] was last year. There’s that saying ‘The best defense is a good offense.’ I think if you make LeBron work a little bit harder on that end, maybe that helps you in the long run as well.”

LW (5:25-5:45): “[Coach Mike] Budenholzer was trying a lot of different things. He had one lineup where Paul Millsap was playing center, where he went really small. I think he has a little more versatility with [Thabo] Sefolosha being healthy. He can go to these lineups where there’s two or three small forwards in there at the same time.”

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How Do Raptors Overcome “Ghosts of Playoffs Past” With Joseph Casciaro, Ben Gibson

Both experts agree that Paul George has been the key for the Pacers, both offensively and in limiting DeMar DeRozan on defense. (joshuak8/Flickr)

Both experts agree that Paul George has been key for the Pacers, both offensively and in limiting DeMar DeRozan on defense. (joshuak8/Flickr)

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With the Toronto Raptors and Indiana Pacers deadlocked at two games apiece, there’s no shortage of anxiety for the Raptors and their fan base. And it’s only natural for a franchise that has struggled mightily in recent postseason play. Paul George’s stifling defense and explosive offense have certainly not made life easy for the No. 2 seed. However, both our guests, The Score’s Lead Basketball Editor, Joseph Casciaro, and Ben Gibson, Assistant Editor for Pacers blog 8 Points, 9 Seconds, agree that the Raptors will emerge victorious and go on to explain why. Delectable excerpts can be found below:

Joseph Casciaro (2:14-2:37): “They’ve gotta to get something from DeMar DeRozan, because right now they’re literally getting nothing. He’s been awful offensively; Paul George has dominated him on that end with his defense. The other thing, too, is DeMar’s been very inattentive on the defensive end. He’s never been a great defender. He’s not the kind of guy that you’re gonna put on the opposing team’s best player, but he’s also not usually this bad, and he’s just been atrocious on both ends of the floor.”

JC (2:54-3:29): “I think, even outside of DeMar, this team can win with DeMar not playing well if they’re generating good looks for everyone else, if they’re moving the ball…As much as the ghosts of playoffs past haunt this team, I just think they’re such a better team than the Pacers that at some point in this series it has to show, and I think it will over the next couple games.”

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How Hornets Bounce Back Against Heat, Featuring Josh Baumgard & Nick Denning

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Even though his game has seen better days, both guests believe Al Jefferson’s play will be critical for Charlotte (Keith Allison/Creative Commons).

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Coming off a Game 1 shellacking, the Charlotte Hornets could really use a Game 2 upset against the talented Miami Heat, who are clicking on all cylinders. Nick Denning, writer for SB Nation’s At the Hive and managing editor of The Lottery Mafia, discusses, from the Hornets’ perspective, what needs to be done to make it a competitive series. But first, Josh Baumgard of Slice Miami handles the Heat side of things.

Josh Baumgard (4:15-4:34): “I think they’re really gonna come at (Hassan) Whiteside. They know he has a tendency to let his temper flare. I think you’re gonna see next game Jefferson’s gonna pound him. They might even bring (Tyler) Hansbrough in for a little longer, just to kind of be that goon, because we all know he can get under players’ skin.”

JB (5:48-6:13): “I think the Heat are a better team. I think they’ve got more firepower in the playoffs. They’ve got multiple guys who create. And as long as these guys play together, which they have. As long as Dwyane Wade doesn’t try to be the man, which he’s an unselfish guy (who) buys into the team aspect. As long as he tries to not do too much hero ball and they’re moving the ball, that’s the key with them. When they’re moving the ball and they’re playing hard defense, they can pretty much hang with anybody, at least in the Eastern Conference.” Continue reading

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